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France - Toulouse, Nov 20, 2013

Pilgrimage to Rome

From October 20 to 27, the AEP (chaplaincy in public education) in Toulouse, proposed a pilgrimage to Rome on the theme: "Once upon a time... the living stones of the Church of yesterday and today."

Pilgrimage to Rome

105 people responded to the invitation (92 youth, 11 adults and 2 priests). The purpose of the pilgrimage was to make young people understand that the Church was built on the testimony of men and women who gave their lives for the glory of God. These include Peter and Paul, who have lived their martyrdom in Rome and are two main pillars on which the Church is founded. To make the most of this pilgrimage, the group found accommodation at the Salesians in Rebibbia area and all could reach the centre of Rome by metro. The guided tours of the most meaningful sites, the testimonies, the reflections of the group and time for personal reflection, allowed young people to feel part of a church carrier of a great legacy. One of the most important event was the audience with the Pope, Wednesday, Oct. 23: almost a hundred thousand pilgrims turned out. The warmth and enthusiasm inspired by Pope Francis impressed several young people who could identify with him and his message so appropriate for today. They were touched by his fatherly attitude showing a Church in need of young people. Many of the young people had the opportunity to attend, on Thursday 24, the ordination of two Nuncios, presided over by the Pope.
Another key event of the pilgrimage was the welcome given to the youth by our community of the General house and of the Church of Our Lady of the Miracles. Fathers Mario, Simone and Enrico gave us an insight into the mission of the religious of Betharram in Rome. The young people then celebrated the sacrament of reconciliation in the Church of O. L. of the Miracles. Two priests (of the Community of Saint Martin) and Bishop Hervé Gaschignard, former auxiliary bishop of Toulouse and now Bishop of Dax, were also there to hear the confessions.
Finally, a feedback by a young student: "Just a word to say that I had an incredible week: I met some fantastic people, I had the opportunity to visit a country as a pilgrim and not as a tourist. Thanks to Martine Logut and her team of animators and to our favorite priests who with their good humor and reliability, went out of their way to make this week a success”

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